Brow Beat

When the Mustache Makes the Man

Thirst Aid Kit’s Bim and Nichole select a trio of Thirst Objects with interesting facial hair.

Photo collage of Chris Pine, Henry Cavill, and Liev Schreiber.
Chris Pine, Henry Cavill, and Liev Schreiber. Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures, Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images, and Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images.

On a recent episode of Thirst Aid Kit, Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins offered some thirst alternatives to burly, mustachioed 1980s Tom Selleck. This transcript has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Bim Adewunmi: Our first Thirst Bucket this week who left a message for our Thirst Sommelier service is, of course, Mary.

Mary-Caitlyn: Hi, Thirst Aid Kit. This is Mary-Caitlyn in North Carolina. I just finished listening to your incredible episode with Ashley C. Ford, and I really love this conversation about the wonderful Sam Elliott and the respect that his incredible mustache got. Totally agree. It inspired me to call in about a Thirst Sommelier request that I have been toying with for a while, which is my fascination with Tom Selleck, especially Magnum, P.I.–era Tom Selleck with that rich head of curly hair and that incredible mustache. The chest hair. Yeah. I’ve never seen Magnum, P.I. I have no desire to or intention to, but I do know Tom Selleck kind of has crappy politics, and that always kills my daydreams. So do you have any recommendations for fresher, younger men who are rocking some kind of deliciously decadent mustache or, more generally, facial hair situation? Thanks a lot. Bye.

Nichole Perkins: Wow. I’m not gonna touch on Tom Selleck’s politics because I do agree with Mary-Caitlyn that maybe we should avoid that, but I will say that Magnum, P.I. is fascinating television. I love it so much. I have rewatched it. It’s on Amazon Prime right now.

Bim: Interesting.

Nichole: So, yeah, give it a chance.

Bim: Yes. According to Mary-Caitlyn, but also the evidence of our very own eyes, there is something about the solidity of Tom Selleck in that role. He is so large. And he’s not just tall—he’s broad, and he’s kind of big and burly, and I’m really here for it. And yes, the Hawaiian shirts, fantastic. The little shorts, even better. Truly magnificent thighs. I just want to say shoutout to previous Tom Selleck, who really was hitting a lot of little check marks for me. Like, Oh yeah, I like that too. Wow, I like that too. Wow, I think I know what I like. But as Mary-Caitlyn says, she has some stuff that she doesn’t want to get into with Tom, fair enough, and what she’s looking for is—in her words, I have to be very careful—“fresher, younger men who are rocking some kind of deliciously decadent mustache or, more generally, facial hair situation.”

I’ve thought about this. I went deep into my thirst mines—that’s not a euphemism—and I came up with a couple of options. The first one is going to be kind of obvious. Second one less so, but I’ll get through the first one first. Henry Cavill.

Nichole: OK. OK. I respect it.

Bim: Right. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Nichole: Yeah, he was a rocking a little mustache for a while.

Bim: Yes, he was, and it wasn’t a little one. It was quite luxurious, thank you very, very much. It was thick. It was a nice dark brown, chestnut color, the color of the hair in the head. I remember thinking, I don’t know if that will work, and then I saw him wearing it and I was like, Oh, no, it fucking works. It absolutely fucking works. It added some kind of dimension to his face. It made him less of a pretty boy, because by the time he wanted to do The Tudors, he had his hair very closely shorn. He was more often than not cleanshaven/five o’clock shadow. He wasn’t really doing much in terms of facial hair. So I feel like he’s so well known as having this cleanshaven, square-jawed face, which Tom Selleck also has. But I think with the mustache, there is something that changes fundamentally in his face. It makes it more interesting. It gives him more depth. It makes you really think, Huh, perhaps he has multiple thoughts. I don’t mean that to sound rude. Shoutout to you, Henry. But I feel like if you are looking for a fresher, younger option, Mary-Caitlyn, you can’t go that far wrong with a large, barrel-chested man who also has what looks like a small rodent on his face.

Nichole: Well, that does not sound appealing, but I hope— [laughs]

Bim: I know. I know. I said it because it’s fur, it’s on a face. She understands where I’m coming from.

Nichole: Right, the spirit of it.

Bim: Exactly, Nichole. Who have you got for Mary-Caitlyn?

Nichole: OK, so I’m going to do something a little different. This is a person who’s had interesting facial hair in previous movies. He doesn’t necessarily rock facial hair often, but he’s got that kind of broad-shouldered manliness that maybe will appeal to Mary-Caitlyn, and that is Liev Schreiber.

Bim: Now. Oof.

Nichole: He is an interesting-looking man. But I really like him. Now, most people will probably recognize him as Sabretooth from the X-Men Origins movie, from Wolverine. He had these sideburns that came down because he’s supposed to be this … Sabretooth. [laughs] This half-cat, half-man thing. But when you see him galloping in the movie on all fours, I don’t know—it’s creepy, but it’s also kind of hot.

Bim: Wow. Wow, Nichole, what an insight. [laughs]

Nichole: But he also starred in this TV show called Ray Donovan, recently, that was on air for about seven years.

Bim: Yes. I don’t know a single person who watched Ray Donovan, and yet that shit stayed getting renewed.

Nichole: Yes. But my mother loved it.

Bim: Of course she did. I know what your mom’s about, Nichole. [laughs]

Nichole: But I would recommend him. Sometimes he does have a mustache, depending on the movie or whatever. And you’ve kind of got to look for it, but he just radiates this kind of coiled energy, that you don’t know what he’s gonna do. But, yeah, Liev Schreiber. Check him out.

Bim: Yes. That’s such a good choice, Nichole, because I was watching his—don’t judge me. I was watching his Architectural Digest apartment tour. [laughs]

Nichole: We love a man with levels.

Bim: Listen, he was taking us through this apartment, and I was like, “Hey, why don’t I move in and we can live a good life here?” It looked like a really nice apartment, and I kept thinking, God, yeah. That thing you said about having this quality of protectiveness, I was like, I bet Mr. Schreiber would look after me. You know? Like I’d come home and there would be dinner cooking. He’d be like: “Hey, don’t worry about it. I know you’ve had a long day. Why don’t you settle in and have this steak?” And I’d be like, “You know what, babes? I love it.” So I’m just saying this is really solid. This is such a good choice.

My second choice, very quickly, for Mary-Caitlyn—I’m not going to linger on this, but just throwing this out there because I have seen him with facial hair, and I do think his face enjoys the benefit of more interest by having some facial fuzz all over it—is Chris Pine. Now, he doesn’t have quite the same barrel-chested energy of “big man protect now” kind of vibe. However, with facial hair, Chris Pine’s face transforms from something semiregular into something really quite interesting. I’m just going to throw that in there for you as well because he’s also going slightly silvery now, so when the beard comes in, and it’s full and it’s lush, it just looks like something you want to hold onto. It looks like it’s full of wisdom, like it has a Ph.D. and you might learn something.

Nichole: [laughs] I respect that, yeah.

Bim: Thank you. That’s my wild-card option. Just throw it in there, see how the mood takes you, and hopefully one or all of those options will satisfy this very specific thing that you are looking for, Mary-Caitlyn.

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